Thursday, June 25, 2020

Mulberry Drop in Full Swing

This good size mirror carp was landed on a
freelined mulberry (see right photo).
The mulberry drop is in full swing right now.
Do you know where a mulberry tree that exists along the banks of a carp pond or river?  If so, this is the easiest ticket to carp fishing you have ever seen.
Carp just love mulberries and they can't get enough of them once they start falling into the water.  They will sit under a tree and eat and eat as the food just drops down from above.  Impale one of these berries onto a #8 hook and toss it in. The carp will generally fight for it.
Be aware, though, that carp will get very wise to this berry thing.  In places where fishermen use them, carp will develop a keen sense in which they soon figure out which berries have a hook in them and which do not! Additionally, you will have to put the berry right in front of these sharp eyed feeding carp.
Have a tree in your backyard and you want to collect berries to use by the water?  Forget it.  This only works in places where berries are hitting the water. The tree has to be by the water. The carp have to be conditioned to eat them.
Mulberries come in white, pink and purple shades. The berry drop is a short lived phenomenon. It lasts for about two to three weeks here in southern New England. The biggest carp I have ever landed on a freelined berry is a 25 lb. mirror!

Friday, June 19, 2020

In a Summer Pattern

Here is a nice mirror that I landed this morning.  Fish the cooler
times of the day for the best action.
We have quickly  moved into a summer pattern of carp fishing here in RI.  Most of the big females have spawned and it is unlikely we will see them again until fall.  Still, there are lots of other good fish to be had.
Key here is fishing the right times.  I have been fishing mostly in the morning up until about noontime when all the action seems to die out.  I've tried before dark with little success.  I know some fishermen who do well fishing late at night at this time of year.  You see, the carp seek a "cool" comfort zone at this time so it makes sense that the cooler times of the day, morning and night, would produce better.  Rainy days in the summer can also light up the fishing.
Another key is bait.  I have not been using a method ball lately because it is a big turtle attractor.  I am just going with the hair rig with a plastic artificial and one kernel of maize on  the hair.  Sometimes in the summer I might also just fish with one artificial on a small hair.  Turtles tend to avoid the plastic artificial but the carp will still hit it.
So, fishing is still going well for me, but I have also made the adjustments to summer fishing that have led to my success.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Are You Geared Up for the BIG One?

Looking for a big carp like this RI mid 20?
You need the right equipment to do it.
Many newbies are ill equipped to handle big carp.
Most carp fishermen, especially the novices, are not. I talk to a lot of fishermen along the banks these days.  Many of the newer carp fishermen talk about how they'd like to catch a big one.  Most here in RI define that big one as 20 lbs. Some of the more experienced guys are looking for a 30 lber. which is very difficult to catch here in RI. It took me decades of carp fishing before I landed my first thirty pounder here in RI. However, when I look down at their equipment of those fishermen wanting to catch a big one, I don't have the heart to tell them it is not going to happen. At my winter carp fishing seminars I often will tell newbies you can't expect to hunt elephants with a BB gun. Most novice carp fishermen are woefully under equipped to land a big one.
So, let's just take a look at equipment needs to land that big carp.  Of course, there are many other factors (bait, location, presentation, etc) that go into this.
Reels- Here is the most important piece of the puzzle.  Big, baitrunner reels are a must for a serious carp fisherman. You want a reel with good line capacity.  I use Shimano Baitrunners on my bigger rods.
Line- Twenty pound test mono or heavier braid is recommended.  I like the mono due to abrasion resistance.  I use Berkley Big Game mono, a saltwater line, on the reels above.
Rods-  I like the 12 foot Euro carp rods because they cast well, are soft on the fight and give me great leverage on a big fish.  Mine are Fox rods (3.0 test curve).  A lot of our RI guys use 9 or 10 ft. surf rods.  They are adequate.
Hooks-  Those cheap Eagle Claw hooks will bend under the weight and fight of a big fish. I buy my carp hooks (#6) from Big Carp Tackle. They are about a dollar apiece but well worth the money.  I have used Fox, PB and ESP hooks, and they are all good.
Hooklink-  I'm using braided line for my hooklink. I like Power Pro Braid in 50 lb. test.
Net- This is a key piece of equipment.  How do you get a 25 or 30 lb. fish onto the bank when your line is only 20 lb. test.  A big Euro carp net is the key. These generally measure 42 inches across. I use a Fox net. Those small bass and trout nets are worthless when it comes to big fish.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Unthinkable Happens....RI 40 lb. Carp!

I am on a roll right now, having landed many fish from 13 to 31 lbs. in the last few days.  But, in one  sudden screech of the alarm, the unthinkable happened today.  I landed my first 40 lb. carp in RI waters, a feat many sharpies doubted was possible.  Every year there are a smattering of low 30 lb. carp landed from RI waters.  Some years see no 30 lbers., so 40 lbs. is off the charts. My biggest RI carp up until now was a 36 lb. common that I landed 8 years ago, a fish that was thought to be the biggest ever landed in RI.
Today's fish hit a combo bait of maize and a white artificial corn fished on a hair rig along with a method ball packed around the sinker. When I initially hooked the fish, I knew it was big.  It did its fighting right along the bottom, steadily peeling line from my Shimano Baitrunner reel. When I got the beast near the net, the challenge began.  I used my 42 inch Fox Euro carp net to make several stabs at the fish. The first two times missed as the fish rushed off when the net was near and smoked the drag.  On the third stab, I got her into the net.
Once on the shore and onto the unhooking mat, I knew I had a monster. I weighed the fish and with  the weight of the sling subtracted, the certified  Rueben Heaton scale showed the fish was exactly 40 lbs.  The fish measured a whopping 40 inches.  I also had a witness to the weighing and measuring.
This fish would have shattered the RI record, but in order to claim a record here in RI you have to bring the fish to a weigh station.  No way I was going to kill this fish.  This fish would be capable of producing eggs that could produce offspring that could potentially grow to enormous sizes. After a few photos, I got the beast down to the water, swished it around a bit and with a mighty swoosh of its tail, it was gone.  I'm hoping we will meet up again some day!
40 lbs., biggest carp ever taken in RI!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Monster I Was Looking For!

Finally, I got that biggie I was looking for all spring here in RI.  With Covid-19 around, I was forced to generally do most of my carp fishing locally in RI this spring. I know it's very difficult to get a real big fish (over 30 lbs.) here in RI, but I got one today.
I mentioned in my last post that there were bigger fish being caught recently here in RI by members of our RI CAG group.  The warming weather and the pre-spawn has gotten the normally cautious, big fish to start roaming around and feeding.
The big common that I landed today tipped the scale at 31 lbs. It hit my usual go to bait, a white plastic pop-up corn along with a kernel of maize on a hair rig. I was also fishing a method ball packed around my sinker. The fish was released in good shape!
With the warm weather here, I suspect more big ones will be caught in the coming week, but the window of opportunity to catch them in the daylight will be short. Many of these biggies will spawn soon if they haven't already, and once the water really gets warm, it will turn into a nighttime affair.
31 lb. common. Biggest one of the spring for me.